City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China
When the world descends on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, it will find the results of a helter skelter rush for modernization and wealth. In the course of a thousand years, temples and shrines, palaces, and gardens had filled the walls of old Peking. Its narrow, twisting streets held the collective memories of five dynasties and turbulent events of the 20th century. It has...more
Published June 1st 2009 by Penguin Books
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This book was most interesting when talking about Beijing's "Weimar" period - the Republican period - and created an image of the city which is hard to imagine now: amidst mass urban decay the sense that residents were still at the center of the world, in a city known for relaxed morals and heightened creativity. Unfortunately, the book later turns into a journalist's rant against the more staid city Beijing is now. What really killed it were the "discussions" of architecture (rambling without a...more